Conventional Wisdom Applies, But Never On Pacquiao
There's no doubt about it, Manny Pacquiao, the best fighter in the planet today, had not only cemented his legacy on the sport, he metal-plated it that we can not expect anybody toppling it soon enough, nor in our lifetime.
In a brutal display of razor-sharp accuracy, speed, power and ferocity, Pacquiao demolished the career of Miguel Angel Cotto, Puerto Rico's fighting pride.
Had Cotto listened to his warrior spirit and opted instead to go toe to toe with the raging pacific storm, he would have been obliterated earlier than the 12th round TKO loss.
Like the rest of Pacquiao's victories, conventional wisdom and knowledge was once again twisted and turned so bad they appear to be false truths.
A lot of boxing scribes who still lean so much towards the "natural laws" in making predictions and picked Cotto find themselves in the crossroads of whether to still believe in what they have always believed on, or just go crazy with the rest of those who bet mortgaged cars and houses, so to speak, and faithfully picked on Pacquiao.
Prior to the fight, a lot of people expected Cotto, the natural welterweight between the two, to be stronger and more powerful. An intelligent fighter, Cotto was expected to set Pacquiao up via constant stalking and corner Pacquiao to unleash his punishing blows. Pacquiao as usual, was expected to implement a game plan similar to what he displayed against Oscar De La Hoya and David Diaz.
What the rest of the world witnessed however, was Pacquiao standing right in front of Cotto, egging Cotto to unleash his bombs with all its fury. And when the smokes cleared out of the brutal exchanges, it was Cotto who was hitting the deck down low.
By mid rounds, it was Pacquiao who was stalking Cotto, and Cotto had no other choice but to resort to Plan B which appears to be tip-toeing away from harm. Though Cotto's jab were impressive at the way it snaps Pacquiao's head back and get him off his rhythm, it just couldn't hold Pacquiao back, an expected case since not even Cotto's hooks and uppercuts were able to make Pacquiao have second thoughts on his aggression.
Pacquiao absorbed Cotto's best punches on the head and on the body, which concerned Freddie Roach very much from the sidelines. In an interview though with a Philippine TV station anchor after the fight, Pacquiao clarified that since Cotto's defense early in the fight was so tough and durable, he had to grant Cotto the opportunity to throw punches and get Cotto off his defense, for him to be able to land his own shots.
Aside from the intentions of getting Cotto off his defense, it also granted Pacquiao the opportunity to "gage" Cotto's real power - a tactic implemented by the bold who's gunning for a ferocious exchange of blows. And the much-complained choice of action proved to be very rewarding for Pacquiao, who got the better end of the exchanges.
By late rounds, Cotto was so bloodied, it was pitiful. He was crying tears of blood, spitting blood from his mouth, and blood oozes from his nostrils - he was suffering the same fate he had with Antonio Margarito, on the unloaded hands of Pacquiao this time.
A lot of people, even the Pacquiao fans, expected Cotto to make a rally in the 12th round, and attempt to grab victory with his puncher's chance. But with Pacquiao, who appears to be capable of going 12 rounds more constantly on the attack, Cotto had no choice but to back-pedal. Referee Kenny Bayless stopped the fight after a swishing straight left landed flush on Cotto's multi-wounded face once again, seeing the senselessness in prolonging Cotto's suffering in the hands of the fighter currently regarded as the baddest man in the planet since Mike Tyson.
The victory blew away all clouds of doubt with regards to his De La Hoya and Hatton triumphs. Cotto is in perfect condition coming into this bout, proof of which is his ability to dance around from mid to the last rounds as evasive action to Pacquiao's onslaught.
It also made highly insignificant the sour-graping remarks of De La Hoya who, despite wincing throughout his bout with Pacquiao before ultimately quitting, described Pacquiao's power in the welterweight division as not capable of hurting a real welterweight.
With the WBO Welterweight now his and all-time great status secured, at the expense of the man regarded as the strongest welterweight champ around, Pacquiao commands an aura of authority among the fighters in the division where he was previously regarded as an oddity.
Though I was one of those who was convinced even before the fight that Shane Mosley is a more competitive fight, the manner of which he disposed off the reigning welterweight champ defied everything proven conventional in the sport - signature of Pacquiao posted on most of his fights, but still very difficult to comprehend and accept.
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